I can haz RAT?

I’ve been using the same mouse for almost a decade. Why? Because I’m left-handed, which means a good mouse is hard to find; they’re all ‘ergonomic’ now, except that they’re anti-ergonomic for the 10-20% of the population who isn’t right-dominant and can just STFU and learn to mouse right-handed. Also, because it was a wireless mouse with instant response in games, because it was really heavy (I hate light mice), because the clicky buttons (all 3 of them) were soft and easy and because I’m resistant to fix something that ain’t broken.

However, it did broke. The rubber covering on the mouse wheel eventually developed cracks and, try though I might to remain loyal, things just weren’t working anymore. It gets annoying to be constantly wheel-clicking when you mean to wheel-scroll. I wonder how much gunge is in there, too, after almost 10 years of near-daily use. Ewww.

I did some research and started out by getting a Razer DeathAdder because it’s one of the few that comes in a left-handed version, but it’s too big for my hand. (Specifically, the left- and right-click buttons are too widely-spaced for short fingers, so beware if you’ve got smaller hands.) So yesterday we trekked into town (instant gratification > cheaper Newegg) and, with some trepidation, I got myself a Cyborg RAT 7, figuring I could return it if it didn’t work for me. I didn’t really expect it to work for me, but I wanted to try it.

RAT7

It’s a weird-ass mouse. It looks like something out of a computer game, or a normal mouse that’s been assimilated by the Borg collective. But ERMERGERSH! it’s freaking HEAVEN. Despite its rather intimidating and very right-canted appearance, it’s actually easy for me to use left-handed. The thumb-rest has become my pinky-rest and I don’t need a stinkin’ thumb rest, so we’re good there. I can even reach the side-buttons (for a right-handed thumb) with the bottom part of my pinky finger, so they’re not entirely out of play. You can alter the mouse’s weight by adding or removing little round weights underneath, though it’s pretty much perfect for me out of the box. It glides easily, the buttons click easily – perhaps too easily for some, it takes very little pressure – and it looks BADASS.

What more could I want?

Well actually, I could wish the two primary click buttons were interchangeable. What’s with this new trend of not letting people switch the main left- and right-click buttons? Is this another FU to left-handed mousers? (The Death Adder was the same.) Is there some deep and meaningful hardware reason why, with a million other programmable buttons on the damn mouse, the primary buttons can’t be altered? Seriously? I’m already considering removing the RAT-specific driver to see if the basic Windows mouse driver will let me swap those buttons around; I’ll lose some extra functionality, but it might be worth it.

This would be the absolute, never-use-another perfect mouse for me if I could only switch the primary buttons so the left-click is under my index finger and not my middle finger – which is odd, actually, given that I’ve been mousing left-handed with right-handed button configs for over 20 years now. I think it’s because the RAT is that good and that comfortable… and ironically, I can’t.

That aside, I can already recommend this RAT for anyone who wants a rodent that’s on the heavier side. The extra buttons are not intrusive and I haven’t hit any by accident yet – which, as any left-handed mouser will know, is quite a design feat.

Oh, and I also got a keyboard yesterday. It’s mechanical (anyone remember the old IBM keyboards?), sounds like I’m directing a firing squad as I’m typing this, is backlit (enough to be seen from the moon if I turn the brightness up to 100), and is already a million times better for typing than my old keyboard was, even if the keys are a tiny bit smaller. I can’t wait to see how this stacks up the first time I have to type 8,000 words in a day – the old keyboard used to give me meatsack hands at the end of crunch days. I’m told mechanical ones won’t, so we’ll see.

razer-bw-2013

Gimme some beta

Because I’ve never complained of having burned out on beta testing and I’ve never said I wouldn’t jump on hype-wagons anymore. No sirree. Anyway, that was a long time ago and I’m pretty sure the opinion statute of limitations for blogs is about 15 minutes.

So. The Elder Scrolls Online now has a beta application page, here.

If you’ve never played any of the single-player RPG versions, a) you probably won’t care about this and b) have you been living under a rock?! I sank a jillion hours into Skyrim most recently – actually no, I wanted to sink a jillion hours into Skyrim and kept getting stymied by work, but I did play as much as I could for a while and lots of fun it was too. (Apart from the fact that PC players got their bug issues addressed and Xbox players like me just had to suck it up and STFU).

Gamers have been clamoring for a multiplayer online version of TESO for centuries (in blogging years), so here it is. Come be part of the development and help make a kickass game. Or, if it’s going to be an FFXIV-type of bust, at least you’ll know ahead of time.

I appear to have only one problem right now. Clicking the “COMPLETE BETA APPLICATION” button makes it go from blue to brown, but otherwise appears to do nothing at all. I sure hope they haven’t just received 4 5 7 versions of my beta app…

EDIT: Well, I hope you have better luck than me. None of my browsers do anything when I click the apply button. According to one wiki it goes to a confirmation page. Bah humbug.

Kickstarting Pathfinder Online

I really shouldn’t spend money when my 2012 Q4 taxes are due, but I did it anyway.

Bill Murphy must have hit just the right button on Facebook because I read his post, clicked through, and pledged $35. I liked the possible benefits if this project ever comes to fruition.

However, since I’ve only just heard of this game and haven’t acually read anything about it yet, and because said tax payment cheques have to be in the post today and I’m about to go out… I’m an ignorant dork who just pledged some money.

If you’re also a dork who likes sandbox MMOs (ignorance is optional), consider pledging. There are 9 hours to go and the funding goal is almost reached.

Click here to find out more.

PS: There’s even a token woman in the long list of dungeon designer geeks on that page! Go tokens!

Game Trailery Goodness – Cyberpunk 2077

I’m not usually much of one for trailers but ohhh, this is different. This is Cyberpunk – specifically, a teaser for Cyberpunk 2077. More info here. I so wish this could be an MMO, but there are lots of reasons why it’s better not. Even so.

DO. WANT.

It’s dark, it’s disturbing – but not in-your-face disturbing, which is even better – and in a short space of time asks one of the central questions of the Cyberpunk genre: Humanity is perfectible (by machines), but at what price?

And the soundtrack is awesome, which I’m not prone to saying about soundtracks in general.

I’m going off to do an Animal impression.

animal-muppet1

WoW – drood powa

I used to get annoyed at druids in PvP in WoW, because the little buggers are unkillable, sort of like paladins only more moonkinny. Then again, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with droods. I made one early on and never really played her. Made another and never really played her either – and so on. Each time I’ve come back to WoW I’ve made another druid (to start fresh or some such smart reason) and never played her.

Last year, however, I finally made one as a hermit char and played her up to 60, which took about 17.4 seconds with the new levelling and a couple of heirloom xp items. (For those who don’t know: a hermit character is one nobody else knows about so you can play them when you’re not feeling sociable. Of course, the whole e-mailfriends WoW thing, whatever it’s called, puts the kibosh on that because they can see you’re online no matter who you’re playing, but that’s okay; I’ve only got 2 of those and we don’t bug each other a whole lot.) And then she sat there for a few months, gathering rest xp and dust, until I brushed her off again during the Xmas break.

into the wild blue yonder

Now, while I don’t particularly want to gush… OMGWTFBBQOPSMASHRIPRIP! Druids are fun, especially feral druids when it comes to my own playstyle. Sneak around when you need to, claw-shred-rip the crap out of stuff when you want, heal when required, claw-shred-rip some more, rinse repeat. I’ll grant you it doesn’t require a whole lot of keys and it’s not all that varied, but none of that matters in the face of shredding the opposition before they even know what’s hit them.

So my little druid is now 70 and claw-shred-ripping her way through the aptly-named Northrend. I don’t want to like her more than my hunter, who is my day 1 character (hell, Eloise is a remake of my beta character so she’s like a million years old in MMO years), but… well… who needs a pet when you can be your own pet? And flight form rocks, especially the faster purple flight form.

I’ve also been indulging in pet battles. I’m still shocked at how addictive those are if you let them be, especially when you get complacent about how good your main team is (mechanical gnome, nexus wyrm, flayer hatchling) and then one of the battle masters hands you your ass; not once, but three times. After the third time I realised it was time to a) level my guys a little and b) find some team members who weren’t going to be insta-roasted by the Shadowmoon guy’s horrible little flame elemental.

There’s something for me about WoW that other people report finding in GW2, which is uncomplicated fun. I’ve logged in to TSW a few times and though I still love the game, it just demands too much thought from me at the moment. So I’m dabbling in TSW for brief, cogitation-laden sessions and then going back to WoW to relax. I’m just glad I have several games I can hop around in and only one I need to be paying for.